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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : November 15, 2013

Consumers say using mobile in-store quicker than asking a store assistant

Many consumers will log on to do their Christmas shopping this year, but that doesn't mean they are completely shunning the in-store experience - far from it, according to new research from BuzzCity. Retailers must ensure that shoppers get the experience they expect from in-store visits, and that includes arming retail staff with the tools and technology to quickly and effectively consult on the shop floor.

by Helen Leggatt

In a survey of 13,000 consumers from 20 different countries by BuzzCity, nearly half (47%) plan to shop online for holiday gifts this year. However, 59% of those who shop online also shop in-store. Marketers must realize that it is a combination of both in-store and online shopping experiences that matter to today's shopper.

BuzzCity also found that consumers are looking for product variety (33%) and expect those products to be easy to find and well displayed (32%) - both online and in-store. These considerations rank above discounting when shopping both in-store (24%) and online (14%).

An interesting finding from the consumer survey concerns in-store staff. Twenty percent of respondents said that using their mobile device to find information in-store is quicker than asking a store assistant. This highlights the need for stores to arm staff with the latest technology and tools to enable them to provide a consulting service on the shop floor.

Recent research in the U.K. highlights the need to empower in-store staff to deal with shoppers armed with mobile devices. Figures released by digital retail experience and tech firm Red Ant, found that many retail workers in the UK admit they lie to cover up for their lack of product knowledge.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of staff in physical stores are so lacking in product knowledge that they fob off shoppers with lies. That's hardly surprising given that 58% said they are given less than two hours of training before being let loose on the shop floor. The inability to ably deal with store visitors leaves half of retail staff embarrassed, found the research, and 46% feel nervous and shy. Some even get around the problem by hiding in the stock room. Who wouldn't? Worse still, some staff admitted to sending a shopper to another store rather than deal with them, or pretend to know more than they do about a product.

Shoppers aren't stupid and over two-thirds (67%) say they notice the lack of knowledge on the shop floor. In fact, 40% say they go online precisely so as to avoid such ill-informed staff.

"When I visit a shop, I know I can find all the product information I need in a matter of seconds just by pulling out my iPhone," Red Ant chief executive Dan Mortimer told the Daily Mail. "But I also know that, if I ask a retail worker the same question, the likelihood is they'll ask me to hang around for a few minutes while they visit the till-point or ask another member of staff for the answer."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: holiday shopping, in-store trends, online shopping, store staff, survey, U.K., U.S.

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